The Muslim community will be joining Muslims worldwide in beginning the month-long fast and other acts of devotion of Ramadan. The holiest month in the Islamic faith-Ramadan-will take place from July 9 through August 8, 2013,according to believers.This is the month on the lunar Islamic calendar, during which some Muslims abstain from food, drink and other pleasures from the break of dawn to sunset.The month of Ramadan, which is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is one of the five pillars of Islam and is known to be month of reflection and complete submission to Allah (God).According to President General of the Anna Catherina Islamic Complex (ACIC), Hakeem Khan, Muslims are urged to use this month to build bridges and not walls, so that with unity of purpose,there can be growth and development of Islam.“We call on our political leaders of this country to let the ideals of Ramadan fill your hearts so that we can return our country to one free from fear, corruption, immorality and crime. May this Holy Month of Ramadan be rewarding to our entire nation.”He explained that the fast is performed for no other reason than to learn discipline, self-restraint and generosity,while obeying God’s commandments.“As God Almighty has granted us His Divine Mercy in sparing our lives to see yet another Ramadan, let us not waste the golden opportunity and use this month to the fullest,in order to achieve maximum benefits. We must observe the fast and other religious activities in this month, with utmost sincerity so that we can achieve success in this life and the hereafter,” he said.According to the Executive of the Guyana United Sadr Islamic Anjuman (GUSIA) and the Board of Management of the Shaheed Boys & Girls Orphanages, this month, which is a special gift to the Muslim nation,came as a result of Allah’s great love for the Prophet of Islam and is an opportunity for Muslims to harness the great benefits that this month contains.“The observance of this month will fill the Muslim’s heart with peace, love and tranquility and inculcates qualities that are associated with great character.In this age of political instability, ethnic and racial violence, greed, materialism and uncertainties,this month is a welcome gift to the world. We need to extract the ingredients of nation building, religious and spiritual codes and appropriate moral, social and economic disciplines to establish strong progressive nations populated with citizens who are cognizant of their duty first to God,the Creator and to fellow occupants of this earth,” the Chairman of the Organisations Badruddin Hassan noted.According to the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG), Islam is one of the world’s most prominent religions and a source of profound strength and guidance for over a billion Muslims worldwide.“We Observe Ramadan every year,but do we listen to it? Ramadan is the most important month of our calendar. It is a tremendous gift from Allah, God Almighty, in so many ways.In our current state of being down and out, it can uplift us, empower us,and turn around our situation individually and collectively. The most important message of Ramadan is that we are not just body. We are body and soul and that is what makes us human beings and determine our values as human beings,” the CIOG said.Muslims look forward to Ramadan as a period of spiritual reflection and renewal. It is also a time when people of other faiths can learn more about Islam, the great benefits that it offers to mankind and the enormous contributions made by Muslims to human civilization. It firmly upholds the principle of respect for all human beings and all religions. Sadly, in many countries, Muslims and other believers are unable to perform their religious beliefs.“We pray for the day when the people of all faiths can express their beliefs without fear of persecution or discrimination,” the CIOG said.